Sportsman, Promoted Polonia and Basketball, a Real Professional



Pistons Three Championship Drive, AUBURN HILLS, MI–  Matt Dobek, former Vice President of Media Relations for the Detroit Pistons died unexpectedly at his Rochester Hills residence.  He was the consummate public relations professional,” said longtime friend Buck Jerzey.  “He was a great ambassador for basketball and Polish charities, he had a heart of gold,” Jerzey added.

Well known in professional and international basketball circles, Dobek was 51. He had been with the Pistons for 28 years.  Before that, he had been Sports Information Director at Wayne State University in 1982-83. 

Dobek, a graduate of Central Michigan University and a native Detroiter, was very active with the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame and Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.  He was well known for hosting guests and national media visitors at colorful Hamtramck pubs.

Dobek was an important part of the success for the three NBA Championship Teams, 1989, 1990 and 2004 in Detroit.  He was adept at making the Detroit Piston ‘Bad Boys’ look good, even when they had numerous controversies.

He was very close to former Piston Coach Chuck Daly and they were frequent companions. When Daly was coach for the 1992 ‘Dream Team’ during the Barcelona Olympics, he picked Dobek to be one of the media officers.  They spent most of the summer in Europe.  Dobek always joked as Daly would sometimes give him some of his new clothes.  Daly was known for his high class wardrobe.  Dobek was tall like Daly and once said, “He would give me his expensive overcoats after only wearing them once, it was a great arrangement.  I loved it.”  At the time of Daly’s death, Dobek got high praise for coordinating the complicated logistics of Daly’s funeral.  It was a national event.  He was also the family spokesperson during such a complex time.

Dobek was very loyal to his friends and always highlighted his Polish roots and Mid-West upbringing.  He was quick to praise his staff including long time statistician Morris Moorawnick.  He would sometimes drive 30 miles each way to make sure Moorawnick would get to the Piston games on time.

Said older brother Marc, “He was a great ambassador for Detroit and the Piston’s.  Over the years, Matt solved a lot of problems for the Piston’s organization.  He was passionate about Detroit sports and Polish charities.  He played CYO basketball at both Saints Peter and Paul and at Detroit St. Andrews High School.  He was an avid sportsman.”

In 1989, Dobek co-authored a book with Chicago native Isiah Thomas, „Bad Boys: An Inside Look at the Detroit Pistons’ and the 1988-89 Championship Season”.  In 1990, when Thomas was being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Dobek and Detroit News reporter Dave Dye were chronicled in the media trade magazine Press Time regarding the controversy.

Last year Dobek was honored by the C.M.U. Journalism Department.  Jim Wojcik, was Dobek’s journalism advisor while at C.M.U.  “He did an excellent job as sports editor and he had a tremendous career,” Wojcik said.  “He was very generous to the C.M.U. journalism department.”

Dobek supported the Detroit Holy Cross Council-Knights of Columbus and the Detroit St. Andrews school campus.  Before residing in Rochester Hills, he lived in Royal Oak and the Warrendale area of Detroit.

The wake was private but a public memorial will be held Saturday, August 25, at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 7685 Grandville in Detroit.  He is survived by his mother, Maryann and two brothers, Marcus and Mitchell.